After the loss of The Bookery late last year, Ithaca will be getting a new bookstore downtown. Odyssey Books, owned by Laura Larson and located at 115 West Green Street, has been looking forward to owning a bookstore for a long time. A native Ithacan, Larson left the area for Seattle and came back looking to start anew. Being friends with Edward Crossmore, a local lawyer who owns the building, she was able to set up her shop in the building’s basement.
Construction has been going on for some time, with Larson eyeing a soft-open in March and a grand opening in mid-April. She is hoping to have a little something for everyone, though this has been quite a challenge for her. Being a passionate reader, she has always dreamed of having a bookstore.
“I believe bookstores are an excellent place for people to come together and both find what they have in common and get to know each other,” Larson said. She wants the store to become a place where community events can connect people with shared interests, like readings or genre-specific events, etc.
Larson is hoping for this bookstore to be a more communal space, for people to get to know each other better. However, there were a lot of hoops she had to jump through to get the store space done, particularly with zoning, permitting, and variances, though she credited the people at City Hall with helping her navigate the process during the last several months.
People did question some of the changes being made to a historic space but Larson loves bringing people into the bookstore. She will be selling new books and plans on having a large section dedicated to plays. Larson came up with the name for her bookstore through some self-evaluation and the legendary novel by Homer.
“I didn’t want this to be a bookstore that was a bookstore you could find anywhere like ‘Joan’s Bookstore,’” Larson said. “That’s fine but I want this bookstore to be like ‘this is an Ithaca store, we celebrate Ithaca and all things Ithaca.’ I love that there is a boat and a lake. It’s about journeys and travels. And, honestly, I’m on my own little journey.”